Microsoft adds acreage on Westside



Tech titan buys more land near former Quarry Yards development

Microsoft appears to have doubled down on Atlanta’s Westside and the neighborhood that surrounds the stalled Quarry Yards development.

The latest land purchase — about 20 acres near the Bankhead MARTA station for $22.5 million — was made last month by West Atlanta Acquisitions, according to Fulton County court records.

People familiar with matter have said that West Atlanta Acquisitions is tied to Microsoft. William Rothschild, an Atlanta-based attorney for West Atlanta Acquisitions, declined to comment. A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny that the company bought the 20-acre property.

Last month’s purchase adds to the 70-acre Quarry Yards site that the Microsoft-associated group acquired last year.

Microsoft is said to be considering developing a mixed-use project in the community, including affordable and market-priced housing and office space for its employees. Microsoft is attracted to the city, according to economic developers, due to the steady supply of tech talent from Georgia Tech and the Atlanta University Center colleges.

Microsoft has other irons in the fire in Atlanta. It will open an office at a new Atlantic Station building for its cloud-computing business. It partnered with the CDC Foundation to create a pandemic-response center here. And it may participate in a proposed health care innovation district in Midtown.

With its Westside land purchases, Microsoft is staking claim in an area where property is rapidly rising in value due to the Beltline and construction of the Bellwood Quarry Park. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms placed a moratorium last year on new building projects in neighborhoods surrounding Quarry Yards, in an attempt to preserve affordable housing. The moratorium applies only to building permits and not to the purchase of property.

Quarry Yards was led by a group that included former Atlanta Braves baseball star Mark Teixeira. The developers had been pursuing city grants to help finance affordable housing units at Quarry Yards before abruptly ending talks around the time Microsoft took an interest in the property.

West Atlanta Acquisitions, the Microsoft corporate vehicle, purchased the new acreage from Quarry Park Hills. Court documents indicate that Quarry Park Hills is affiliated with Sixty West Funds, a Dexter, Missouri-based real estate investment firm. Sixty West did not respond to calls seeking comment. Robert Chubb, an Atlanta-based lawyer who worked on a related transaction involving Quarry Park Hills, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Sixty West lists Quarry Yards on its website as one of 10 properties nationwide that it “has under control” and that would provide tax benefits and “potential superior returns” to investors.